the forensic institute

Student Projects: The Forensic Institute Research Network (FIRN)

The use of ion beams for forensic analysis

Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) consists of a suite of techniques that offer non-destructive and quantitative elemental analysis of a huge range of materials. They also have higher sensitivity to trace elements than conventional forensic techniques and in most cases require no sample preparation, completely ruling out one potential route of contamination. The use of IBA in criminal casework has been limited thus far due to factors including cost and access to equipment.

In this presentation, an introduction to the basic principles of IBA will be given along with results from work carried out on a range of forensic sample types including gunshot residue, soil particles, glass fragments and fingerprints. In all of these cases, IBA can provide complementary information to the techniques currently used in forensic investigations, maximising the evidential value of each and every piece of trace evidence. We show that for high profile cases, in which police authorities devote substantial resources, ion beam analysis techniques show great promise.

Nick Bright, Matt Christopher , MELANIE BAILEY

Surrey Ion Beam Centre, University of Surrey. Contact:

Oral presentations

Cognitive style, processing sets and face recall >>

The Scanning Kelvin Probe (SKP) for the visualisation of fingerprints on metal surfaces >>

Investigation into the user of parallel processing techniques to speed up file carving using Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) >>

Assessment of the validity of using pigs as a model for humans in forensic entomology studies >>

Chemical processes at fingerprint-metal interfaces >>

Determination of visual thresholds of image usefulness in fingerprint compression >>

The use of ion beams for forensic analysis >>

General purpose graphics processing units in security >>

An investigation into the use of dehydration as a method of preserving dna in biological forensic samples >>

Real world detection of cocaine at the picogram level in an urban environment >>